‘I will not let anyone walk through my mind with his dirty feet.’
Sometimes we are the ones with the dirty feet in our own minds!
Have you ever had Imposter Syndrome?
Have you ever taught something important to your students and then thought ‘Hey, who am I to sprout about all of this? or ‘Hey, I don’t do that!’
Let me explain what I mean. You might teach a lesson on healthy eating, for example. You teach your students the importance of eating a balanced diet, of eating a daily serve of fresh fruit and vegetables, of limiting fast food and sugar intake and drinking plenty of water.
And then you reflect on your own lifestyle choices and realise that you are not doing these things that you teach!
Or you might be teaching the class a lesson on the benefits of positive self-talk on relationships, mindset and achievement, when you recognize that your self-talk can be quite negative and is probably impacting on how you feel about yourself and your performance.
Or you may be mediating a conflict between students where you insist on respectful communication, authentic listening and willingness to repair the relationship. Then you suddenly remember that you had a huge fight with your partner last night and you didn’t do any of these things.
You may feel like an imposter, like a fraud! You may tell yourself that you aren’t good enough or that you don’t deserve the praise you receive from others.
Does that mean that you should never teach these skills because you don’t practice what you preach?
I don’t think so!
I have noticed both as a teacher and presenter, that this Imposter Syndrome rears its ugly head quite regularly and I seriously wonder how I can be the one who teaches teachers best practice when I don’t always do it perfectly.
But just because I don’t do everything perfectly does not mean that I shouldn’t share my knowledge and understandings with others.
Here are 7 ways to improve your self-talk and keep the Imposter Syndrome at bay:
1. Be authentic. Teach your students what you know and include your own story of doing things well, badly or both. When students know that you have struggled and are maybe still struggling with some of the things you teach it gives them hope and lets them know that you are human.
2. Let go of perfectionism. You can help students learn to be compassionate with themselves and not be victim to the curse of perfectionism when you demonstrate self-compassion.
3. Ask for help. Rather than think that you should have all the answers, whether you are in your first or your 40th year of teaching, you are entitled to seek help when you need it. And then you can let someone else be the expert!
4. Own your mistakes. Rather than hiding when you have failed at something or not lived up to your own high expectations, take responsibility for your behaviour. There is enormous power in saying, ‘Yep, I screwed it up’. And it is wonderful modelling for your students.
5. Notice your self-talk. Once it was essential for our survival to notice what was wrong in our environment to keep ourselves safe, so our fight/flight response was ever-vigilant. Nowadays, don’t need that skill. It is more important for us to focus on the positive in order to thrive and flourish to our potential. When you notice that you are being negative, turn it around and give the situation a positive spin.
6. Celebrate your successes. Give yourself a pat on the back when you achieve a goal or finish a task, even if it is only small, and recognize the progress you have made.
7. Lighten up. Don’t take everything so seriously! When you maintain a sense of humour you realize that most situations aren’t life or death.
Your self-talk impacts how you feel about yourself, how you act towards others and your level of performance and wellbeing so do yourself a favour and check out teacherwellbeingworkshop.com